Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s mobile money service, EcoCash, has partnered with Mukuru to allow Zimbabweans living in South Africa to be able to send money back home.
The deal will result in EcoCash accessing the over 2 million Zimbabweans living in South Africa. Mukuru is a key player in the South African remittance space.
Mukuru chief executive officer Andre Ferreira told NewsDay on the sidelines of the official signing of the partnership that the company was aiming at increasing their market share by 10% with this partnership.
“Being a remittance pal partner, one of the biggest advantages you can have is to have a very big crowd network. I think we are quite strong in the metro areas and big towns, but in rural areas we have got a gap. So who has got the biggest crowd network? EcoCash. So for us this deal means there is not a village which we cannot pay out, which is what EcoCash brings to the table,” Ferreira said.
“Zimbabwe has been our biggest corridor (market) but we are growing quite strongly within Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho and Mozambique. Remittances are definitely on the rise to Zimbabwe but we did see a decline over the last six months. It could have been because of economic conditions within the sending countries or due to the liquidity crisis as there is a perception that maybe cash will not be paid out.”
The arrangement between EcoCash and Mukuru will enable Zimbabweans in South Africa to send money directly and instantly to over 6,5 million EcoCash clients in Zimbabwe.
The money sent can be cashed out at any one of the EcoCash 30 000 agents in Zimbabwe, or used for any other service available on EcoCash such as person-to-person money transfer, pay bills or buy airtime.
In addition, senders in the Diaspora will be able to access the same EcoCash functionality currently available locally in Zimbabwe.
Econet Wireless chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said remittances played a key role in the economy and would play that role going into the future.
“We will be extending the same conveniences for Zimbabweans living in other countries as we continue to innovate and bring convenience closer to our customers,” Mboweni said.
The partnership was facilitated and structured by Cassava, a wholly-owned financial technology subsidiary of the Econet Group, and is designed to further consolidate EcoCash’s market leadership position and injecting the much-needed liquidity into the Zimbabwe economy through inward remittances.
EcoCash general manager Natalie Jabangwe-Morris said they were looking at tapping into part of the $1 billion in Diaspora remittances that comes into the country through the informal system.
In his mid-term monetary policy review, central bank governor John Mangudya said the export incentive would be extended at a level of between 2,5% to 5% on diaspora remittances.